I recently had a friend tell me she used to wonder how people with large families did it and then she met me. Now, she said, she understands. (Needless to say, at this point I was REALLY wondering what she thought she'd learned!) She said that I am a born mother, that she can tell that mothering is my special calling and she felt that she (with three children) did not have the same thing.
I have a different perspective. I was not a "born mother." I know people who have always wanted to have children and I know people who just love babies. I was neither. I was never drawn to be around children and didn't grow up desiring children in any numbers. People who are like that are, in my mind, "born mothers." They just naturally like the mothering stuff. I'll tell you right now, I had a night last night that wasn't really all that bad relatively speaking. One of my little ones was up a few times in the course of about 2 hours crying about her leg hurting. It was nothing compared to what some people have with newborns and really, I can't say that if I told people they'd have that much sympathy but I was ready to go nuts! My husband saw that I had ZERO patience and sent me to bed! My lack of giftedness at nighttime parenting (my gift has been God allowing me to find ways to NOT be awake for any amount of time at night) is one huge sign to me that I'm not a "born mother".
I do believe my friend is right in one sense. Mothering is my calling. But it's also the calling of any woman to whom God gives a child. The key is that I have "embraced" that calling, to steal a phrase from Nancy Campbell of the Above Rubies ministry.
That's the reason some might perceive a difference. It's all about perspective and actively deciding to alter your attitude to enjoy what God has most obviously planned for your life. Too often we just do what we have to do, enjoy the nice moments and complain about the difficult ones. We often fail to see the bigger picture of what we're doing and wonder why WE have to be stuck with these small and annoying things. We look at others doing what we think are more significant tasks or perhaps more enjoyable things and we wish that our lives could be like that.
When I look at my children, I see potential. Potential that God wants us (my husband and I) to help equip and direct! This is the future of our family, of our society, of His Kingdom. What I do with these children, every little thing could be of greatest significance!! It could be of little significance but I don't know! I don't know what enormous plans God could have for these children but I know that I'm a part of those plans and some of those plans rest heavily on what I do or don't do with my children. As you catch that vision and just imagine the ways God COULD use your children in the future, you start finding more purpose and significance in what you're doing. As you start to see that you have an impact on your children that you couldn't have on anyone else in the world, you start to see the value of this relationship! The longer you think along those lines, the more you get caught up in the bigger picture where, before, you focused on piles of laundry, dishes, messes, arguements and runny noses but now, you can get lost in thought about the view of that big picture while you're doing the little things that go into that big picture.
Isn't it exciting to be a part of something God is doing?! No, I wasn't born thinking how awesome it would be to mother. I didn't even start thinking it was awesome until I was two children into it but now I can say that there's NO job as awesome, significant and blessed than this!